Ghost Rider

The only ghost in the Ghost Rider film is the ghost of the comic it was based upon.  I actually like the story leading in from Matt Long playing the young Johnny Blaze and Brett Cullen as the father.  Raquel Alessi made it work since she actually did look like a younger version of Eva Mendes.  Young Johnn Blaze is a small-time stuntman working the carnival circus with his father.  He sells his soul to the devil to save his father from terminal cancer only to lose him to a stunt accident.  As part of the deal he must collect on the devil’s deeds as the ghost rider.

 

I really liked the story setup and had some high expectations.  It was priceless.  A young, handsome, and headstrong stuntman dreaming of bigger things.  A girl he loved but disapproved by her father.  She tells him that she’s moving out of town because her father doesn’t want her near Johnny Blaze.  “We’ll leave tomorrow.  Meet me by the tree.  We’ll just keep riding.”  When the devil’s deal is sealed and the father gets his health back Johnny bids farewell.  In the final moment, the father throws him the keys to his prized chopper, “take grace”.

That sums up the precise point where I should have stopped watching this film.  Nicholas Cage is one of those great actors who are good at playing themselves.  You pretty much have to write a good screenplay around the dude to get a decent movie.  He always plays a clumsy, hapless goof or some dude just a bit off kilter.  It worked in Next because his oddball tendencies fit in with premise of a guy who can only see 60 seconds into the future for endless simulations.  With Ghost Rider he decided to go for the “goofball who morphs into a demonic rider at night”.

The film would have been a lot more better for me if Johnny Blaze was played a bit darker, a haunted man.  Instead of the usual hard-drinking, chain-smoking bad ass in the original comics they opted for a jelly bean-eating, cartoon-watching goof who’s trying to constantly escape reality.

Yeah, so faced with the grim reality of having sold his soul, he ditches the girl who’s waiting for him under the tree only to be reunited with her as a daredevil superstar and star reporter.  Amazingly, even after decades, they still have the hots for each other like when they were teens.  Right.